Well, this is not my first post here, but when I rediscovered my former username I decided re-register in a bout of horror!
Anywho, I'm planning to ride with the American Lung Association across the USA next summer and I'll be looking for advice from the old touring pros on here. I'll be building a worthy bike before mid-winter I already have a road bike, and some have asked me why I won't just take that one, but it's a twitchy little carbon thing and more importantly it doesn't have any room/attachments for fenders! A couple of things worth mentioning:
1. The tour is fully supported. We are not required to carry much but ourselves on the rides.
2. Average mileage is 80 miles per day. Upper limit is 110 per day.
3. The tour is 3300 miles long and extends over 7 weeks including 8 days of rest.
I've been test riding a couple bikes so far, and my favorite has been the Co-Motion Nor'Wester. They seem to be getting great reviews and I was impressed by its lightness and buttery ride.
I have a host of questions that I'd love to have answered in any order!
As I will not be packing my gear along with me and I am ~145 lbs, what do you think the necessary spoke count should be? 32 or 36?
Are there any wheels you might recommend that are durable, fast and lightweight?
Perhaps you are in the lightweight and fast be damned category, if so what else might you recommend?
I'm a noob when it comes to incessant riding like this, and I've only ever owned my Bontrager race lites and mtb wheels, so I'm not really sure what I should be aiming for. The internet is rife with information about wheels for loaded touring, but I'm not really finding any info that appeals to my specific needs for this trip thus far.
I don't have much interest in bar end shifters and the Apex doubletap shifters seemed annoying to me on the test co-motion. I have brifters on my roadbike and I really love those. I remember having index shifting on my first gary fisher and then upgrading to a new fisher and there was trigger shifting but it was all done with my thumb. It is absolutely irritating! I suspect, then I'll stick with what I know.
I am intrigued by campy's ergo shifting as I have smallish hands. If I go with campy's shifters do I generally need to do an entire campy drivetrain? (not a bad prospect, but it might push the bike out of my budget!)
Which drivetrain groupsets can you recommend for my needs and that particular bike? I know for certain i will need a triple for some ludicrous climbs in the mix. I have 105/ultegra mix on my road bike and for the most part it's been great. But I've never been on it 80 miles day after day either
Anyway, I would love your feedback! Thank you